Fred Phelps, Westboro Baptist Church Founder, Near Death

Fred_Phelps_10-29-2002Fred Phelps, founder of the virulently antigay Westboro Baptist Church, notorious for its “God Hates Fags” protests at numerous funerals and concerts, is “near the edge of death” in a Topeka, Kansas hospice, according to a Facebook message posted by his son Nathan Phelps.

Nathan, who split from the church in 1976 and eventually became an LGBT and child abuse advocate in Canada, also reveals that his 84-year-old father was ex-communicated from Westboro last August, but doesn’t reveal the reason.

Phelps writes:

I’ve learned that my father, Fred Phelps, Sr., pastor of the “God Hates Fags” Westboro Baptist Church, was ex-communicated from the “church” back in August of 2013. He is now on the edge of death at Midland Hospice house in Topeka, Kansas.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. Terribly ironic that his devotion to his god ends this way. Destroyed by the monster he made.

I feel sad for all the hurt he’s caused so many. I feel sad for those who will lose the grandfather and father they loved. And I’m bitterly angry that my family is blocking the family members who left from seeing him, and saying their good-byes.

The Topeka Capital-Journal confirmed the news through Mark Phelps, another son estranged from WBC. Additionally, a spokesman for Westboro Baptist Church confirmed Sunday that Phelps Sr. is a patient in the Midland Care Hospice in Topeka.

The actions of Westboro under the leadership of Phelps Sr. led to federal and state laws restricting protests during military funerals. Last week, U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan Jr.ruled to uphold a Missouri law which requires protesters to stay at least a the length of a football field away from funeral sites, starting an hour before the service until an hour after it ends.